The Austin armored car was an armored vehicle that was built shortly after the beginning of the First World War in Great Britain for the Russian army. Only after the collapse of the Russian Empire, the British army took over some of the vehicles.
At the end of August 1914, a Russian committee moved to Britain to have their armored vehicle developed and built by the local companies. The requirements placed emphasis on speed, armor and sufficient armament.
The draft of the Austin Motor Company most conceded to the Russian committee, as this company already had experience in truck construction and accordingly possessed the necessary knowledge and production capacities. The presented model of the Austin armored car series I was a truck chassis on which an armored chassis was set and which was powered by a 30 hp rear-wheel drive. Above and behind the driver's cabin, a tower was fitted with two Maxim machine guns. They were able to turn each 180 degrees and thus cover both the entire area to the front and to the rear. The crew consisted of the commander, the driver and two shooters. As of September 29, 1914, the first of the ordered 48 vehicles were delivered. Arrived in Russia, however, the 3.54 mm thick armor was unscrewed and replaced by a 7 mm armor. This made the vehicle heavier and slower overall, however, the Russian army was so enthusiastic that a stronger armor for a second series was explicitly desired.
With the experience of Series I and the new requirements was built from 6 March 1915, the Series II Austin armored car. In order to carry the desired thicker armor, now also a reinforced chassis and a 50 hp engine was used. In addition, the cab roof was slightly modified to improve the field of fire and the rear hatch was removed. From the series II a total of 60 vehicles were delivered to the Russian army.
On August 25, 1916, the Russian army ordered more vehicles in the UK. In this series, the side machine gun shields have been modified and replaced the glass of the cabin with bulletproof glass.
In autumn 1917, a series IV was ordered with a reinforced chassis and double rear wheels. Due to the collapse of the Russian Empire, the already produced 16 vehicles could no longer be delivered and were taken over by the British army.
In the Russian army, the vehicles were initially grouped in machine-gun trains. A train included 3 Austin armored cars, 4 service vehicles, 3 tank and workshop vehicles, 4 motorcycles and 46 soldiers. In August 1916, these were grouped into larger armored automobile battalions.
In the British Army, the Series IV vehicles were used by the 17th Armored Battalion of the Panzer Corps from March 1917. Especially in the Battle of Amiens, these vehicles were distinguished as they broke through the German lines, laid 16 kilometers back and destroyed a German headquarters.
|Designation:||Austin armored car|
|Country of Origin:||Great Britain|
|Number of pieces:||Series 1 = 48 pieces
Series 2 = 60 pieces
Series 3 = unknown
Series 4 = 16 pieces
|Armament:||2 machine guns|
|Maximum speed:||ca. 56 Km/h|
|Engine:||Four-cylinder with 50 hp, Series 1 with 30 hp|
You can find the right literature here:
British Armoured Car Operations in World War I
Readers have come to expect a level of detail and critical rigor from the established military historian and author Bryan Perrett. They will not be disappointed at all here by this new publication. Focussing predominantly on the British armored car units of World War One, it also untangles many fascinating strands forming the history of modern warfare. Full of detail, it acquaints the reader with the complete history of the armored car, from invention onwards, setting the history of its Great War service career firmly in context. Well written in an accessible style, this publication serves as an impressive tribute to the armored car, one of the most effective weapons utilized by the allies during the course of the Great War.
British Battle Tanks: World War I to 1939 (General Military)
When British soldiers charged across the Somme in September 1916, they were accompanied by a new, revolutionary weapon--the tank. After a stuttering start, armored behemoths such as the Mark IV, Mark V, and Whippet Tank played a crucial role in bringing World War I to an end.
Marking the centenary of their battlefield debut, this comprehensive volume traces the design and development of the famous British weapon system, from the initial concept of a steam-powered tank during the Crimean War, to the role the British military played in creating the infamous German Blitzkrieg tactic of World War II. Bolstered by historic photographs and stunning illustrations, author David Fletcher brings us the thrilling history behind British tanks of the First World War.
The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car (New Vanguard)
The first Rolls-Royce armoured car was a privately owned vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and a limited amount of armour plate at a dockyard in France. It was used by a squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service in Flanders in 1914. Backed by First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill more and better versions followed until, by 1915 there were about 100 of them which were then handed over to the Army. "They searched the world for War" as Sir Albert Stern said of them and before long there were Rolls-Royce armoured cars operating as far apart as German South West Africa, the Western Desert, Gallipoli, all over the Middle East and the north west frontier of India.
All of them used the classic 40/50hp Silver Ghost chassis. They were fast, silent and reliable but above all strong. "A Rolls in the desert is above rubies" said Lawrence of Arabia and the Duke of Westminster would have agreed with him following his famous raid to rescue the kidnapped crew of the steamship HMS Tara. At least one car accompanied the adventurous MP Oliver Locker-Lampson on his adventures in Russia.
After the war, unable to find a better model the War Office simply copied the original Admiralty design with minor improvements. If that was not enough the Royal Air Force also acquired some to support their operations in the Middle East. A new design with a larger body and dome shaped turret also appeared for service in India. They also served in Ireland and even, briefly in Shanghai.
The 11th Hussars still had Rolls-Royces in Egypt when the war against Italy began and the youngest of these was over fifteen years old when they went into action, but after that their numbers dwindled as newer vehicles came along. But then history repeated itself. Britain was threatened with invasion and a new army of veterans was raised to assist with defence. Some battalions built home made armoured cars, on private chassis and at least three of these were based on Rolls-Royces.
Armoured Warfare in the First World War (Images Of War)
A hundred years ago, on 15 September 1916, on the Western Front during the Battle of the Somme, the tank made its debut on the battlefield. The first tanks were crude, unreliable, vulnerable weapons, but they changed the character of land warfare forever, and Anthony Tucker-Jones's photographic history of these pioneering armored vehicles is the ideal introduction to them.
In a selection of over 150 archive photographs he offers a fascinating insight into the difficult early days of this innovative new weapon, describing its technical history and its performance in combat. While the Battle of Cambrai in 1917 is often held up as the first large-scale tank battle, tanks had already served at Flers-Courcelette on the Somme, during the Nivelle offensive and the battles of Messines and Passchendaele.
His book shows that the development of the tank was fraught with technical obstacles and battlefield setbacks. It was invented by the British and the French at almost the same time to help break the deadlock of trench warfare, and the British deployed it first in 1916. Belatedly the Germans followed the British and French example. The initial designs were continuously refined during two years of intense warfare. Finding the right balance between power and weight, getting the armament right, and working out the best tactics for tanks on the battlefield was a tricky, often deadly business.